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Statistics: A Career Path with Limitless Opportunity


Ron Wasserstein

Executive Director, American Statistical Association

In today’s modern, digital world, more data are available to us than ever before. Increasingly, organizations of all kinds are seeking opportunities to use this data to understand their customers, optimize their processes, grow their return on investment, and much more. To analyze all that data and derive accurate insights, they need statisticians.

Statistics – the science of learning from data – is one of the fastest-growing fields in the United States, with a projected growth rate of 34 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A career in statistics is one that is fulfilling, high-paying, and constantly in demand. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked statistician as the best business job, and USA TODAY named statistician as the fifth best job in America. What’s more, you can apply statistics to virtually any field, making a career in statistics a highly relevant, flexible, and valuable professional path.

Today’s students can set themselves up for rich and diverse opportunities as the next generation of statisticians. Here are four reasons students should consider statistics as a future career:

1. Statisticians can pursue their passions

Statisticians work in almost every field, from global health research to Silicon Valley, sports analytics to journalism. Students can apply their statistics skills to any topic and industry they are passionate about.

2. Statisticians are in high demand

Everyone needs a statistician, and since the field is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, those with a background in statistics will continue to be an asset to any organization. Data analytics, math, and the ability to communicate results go hand-in-hand with an education in statistics, equipping students with highly marketable skills.

3. Statisticians are paid well

In May 2018, the median annual salary for statisticians was $87,780, while the best-paid 10 percent made around $139,350 and up. In addition to being in demand, statisticians also earn a great wage.

4. Statisticians can change the world

Statistics can have a meaningful impact on global issues. Statisticians are among those leading the charge for real-world changes on many of today’s most critical topics. In medical research, global health, and climate change studies, there are statisticians behind the scenes who are making the world a better place through their analytical lens.

The field of statistics is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years, so there’s never been a better time to pursue this career path. Since statisticians are in demand and essential to many organizations, they also earn top dollar for their work. Statisticians feel fulfilled by their jobs and are able to work in a variety of industries, so they can combine both their passions and profession. As statistician John Tukey once said, “The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.”

Ron Wasserstein, Executive Director, American Statistical Association, [email protected]

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